How Does Lyme Disease Affect Humans
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick .1 The transmission cycle begins when ticks feed on birds and small mammals that carry Lyme disease. Once the tick bites an infected animal, it becomes infected with Lyme disease and could possibly transmit the bacteria to humans through a bite.
A tick can transmit infection after being attached for 24 hours or longer, because it takes time for the bacteria to travel from the ticks gut into its salivary glands.1 It is important to check for ticks and quickly remove them in order to prevent Lyme disease.1 If a blacklegged tick has Lyme disease but is removed right away, it is unlikely that infection will be passed on.
Should I Have The Tick Tested For Lyme Disease
No, testing a tick for Lyme disease is not helpful. It is usually not the tick you find, but the tick that you dont find that gives you Lyme. A tick that tests negative for Lyme may only give you false assurance. If you live somewhere with Lyme disease, it is best to assume that the deer tick that bit you is infected and can spread the infection.
Is There A Time Of The Year When Lyme Disease Is Most Likely
Lyme is most common during late spring and summer when the nymphal ticks are more predominant, these ticks are so tiny that they are easier to miss than the adult-sized ticks . Adult ticks can still transmit Lyme disease but they are easier to spot so they are usually noticed and removed more quickly. It is adult ticks that are responsible for the occurrence of Lyme disease during the fall and early winter.
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What Other Diseases Can Ticks Carry
Along with Lyme disease, I. scapularis , can transmit a number of rare diseases, including Anaplasma phagocytophilum , Babesia microti and Powassan encephalitis virus. These bacteria and viruses have been found infrequently in ticks and can be prevented by following the same prevention measures as described above for Lyme disease.
Can I Prevent Lyme Disease
Not all cases of Lyme disease can be prevented. But you can protect yourself from tick bites. If you go into an area where ticks live, be sure to:
- Stay in the middle of the trail instead of going through high grass or the woods.
- Wear closed shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Tuck pant legs into shoes or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up legs.
- Use an insect repellent.
- Consider treating your clothing and gear with permethrin to repel ticks.
- Wear light-colored clothing to help you see ticks more easily.
- Shower and wash hair after being outside to remove ticks before they attach.
- Remove any ticks you find right away.
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Do Male Deer Ticks Carry Lyme Disease
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Male deer ticks behave like any other tick but do male deer ticks carry Lyme disease? Research has revealed they have little ability to transmit Lyme disease. The deer ticks, also known as black-legged ticks, are known for their notorious biting and the dark legs. Their preferred hosts are usually whitetail deer, hence the name deer tick. However, deer ticks can also attach to humans. They are tiny in size, and thus it might take time before you realize theyve stuck on your body.
The male deer ticks are slightly smaller than the female ones. They both dont have hard-shelled bodies. Their bodies are flat and oval. Male deer ticks have a reddish-brown color, different from the female ones that bear an orange-brown color. The female deer ticks become reddish-brown after feeding on a host.
How Can I Prevent Getting A Tick Bite
Good ways to prevent tick bites are to wear shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants when outside, especially in brushy areas and areas that border forests. Tucking your pants into your socks and wearing high boots can also help. It is easier to see ticks on light-colored clothing, so that is another useful approach. Applying bug spray to your clothing can repel ticks. After being outdoors it is important to do a thorough tick check of yourself and your children. Ticks tend to like dark, moist areas on the body so pay particular attention to the armpits, groin, hairline, scalp, backs of the knees, and waistline. If you have pets, using a topical product to prevent ticks on your dogs and cats will also help to ensure that your animals are not bringing ticks into your home.
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Reducing Deer Populations May Reduce Risk Of Lyme Disease
- Entomological Society of America
- Reduced deer populations can lead to a reduction in Lyme disease cases, researchers in Connecticut have found that after a 13-year study was conducted. White-tailed deer serve as the primary host for the adult blacklegged tick — the vector for Lyme disease. The study found that the number of resident-reported cases of Lyme disease per 100 households was strongly correlated to deer density in the community.
Since white-tailed deer serve as the primary host for the adult blacklegged tick — the vector for Lyme disease — scientists have wondered whether reducing the number of deer in a given area would also mean fewer cases of Lyme disease. Now, after a 13-year study was conducted, researchers in Connecticut have found that reduced deer populations can indeed lead to a reduction in Lyme disease cases. The results of their study are published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.
The researchers surveyed 90-98% of all permanent residents in a Connecticut community from 1995 to 2008 to document their exposure to tick-related diseases and the frequency and abundance of deer observations. After hunts were initiated, the number and frequency of deer observations in the community were greatly reduced, as were resident-reported cases of Lyme disease.
Watch Out For Deer Ticks: Reduce Chance Of Lyme Disease
The loathsome deer tick, also known as the black-legged tick, is defined more by the disease it spreads than by its own characteristics. Deer ticks, a name that came about due to its habit of parasitizing white-tailed deer, are transmitters or vectors for Lyme disease microbes that they acquire by feeding on infected mice and rodents. Lyme disease, if untreated can cause a variety of health issues including facial paralysis, heart palpitations, arthritis, severe headaches, and neurological disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme disease is currently one of the fastest-growing and most commonly reported vector-borne diseases in the United States. More than 14,000 cases are reported annually, but because the symptoms so closely resemble the flu and usually go away without treatment, scientists estimate as many as nine out of every ten cases go unreported.
To avoid ticks, stay in the middle of the trail while hiking and stay out of wooded and tall grassy areas when possible. Before you head out, dress in pants and a long sleeve shirt and consider tucking your pants into your socks. Also, use a tick repellant containing DEET and for prolonged outdoor activities such as camping, look for clothing and camping gear that is treated with permethrin, while always reading and following manufacturers directions and warning labels.
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What Is Lyme Disease Anyway
Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne disease in the United States. Its caused by a bacterium named Borrelia burgdorferi. According to some sources, each year there can be up to 30,000 new cases of Lyme disease diagnosed. And that number doesnt factor in cases that are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, meaning there may be a lot more people who are infected.
Who’s At Risk Of Lyme Disease
Are you in a part of the United States where Lyme disease occurs? If so, it might interest you to know that some people in these regions of the country are especially at risk of Lyme disease because theyâre more likely to come in contact with ticks .
States in green have especially large populations of ticks that carry Lyme disease bacteria.
So who â exactly â faces a higher risk of Lyme disease in these areas of the U.S.? Keep reading to find out!
First A Little Background
To understand Telfords argument, its helpful to know about the life cycle of I. scapularis ticks.
First, a female mates and feeds in the fall, then overwinters. In the spring, the female lays a batch of eggs, which could contain as many as 2,000 eggs. In the summer, the larvae emerge from eggs and seek hosts to feed on. After feeding, the larvae molt into nymphs during the fall or early the following spring, when they feed as nymphs. If they feed, they will molt into adults during the summer and seek hosts that fall.
Larvae and nymphs both feed on small to medium animals, such as mice, chipmunks, shrews, or birds. These animals, especially mice, are where the ticks pick up the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The adults feed only on larger animals, with white-tailed deer being one of their favorite hosts. Unlike the small mammals, deer do not infect ticks with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
An adult female blacklegged tick , once fed, will lay a clutch of up to 2,000 eggs.
What Is The Best Way To Remove A Tick
The best way to remove a tick is with fine tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull with firm, gentle pressure do not jerk or twist. It is important to avoid crushing or squeezing the tick while you are removing it. Do NOT use a match, nail polish, Vaseline, or kerosene to try and smother the tick these methods may cause the tick to actually inject its body fluids into the skin raising the possibility of disease transmission. After tick removal wash your hands and the area of the bite with soap and water.
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Early Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
- Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans rash:
- Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
- Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days
- Expands gradually over a period of days reaching up to 12 inches or more across
- May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
- Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or âbullâs-eyeâ appearance
- May appear on any area of the body
How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off
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Keep A Lookout For Symptoms From Tick Bite This Summer
Have you checked yourself or your child for tick bites lately?
If you havent already heard, this summer is a particularly booming year for tick populations across the country and in the state of Ohio. A black-legged tick , the kind that sometimes carries Lyme disease, was spotted just to the east of us in Vermilion earlier this summer. And Ohio is on the list of 24 states that contains counties with newly documented populations of deer ticks.
Tick bites are common. Some people are unaware of a tick bite at first. Be sure to check yourself and your children often, especially throughout the summer months when tick populations grow. Ticks are especially attracted to warm, moist areas of the skin like armpits, groins, or hair. Once they bite you, a tick may stick around drawing your blood for up to 10 days. The sooner you spot and remove a tick, the better.
What Are We Doing About Lyme Disease In Middlesex
The Middlesex-London Health Unit follows up on human Lyme disease cases. The Health Unit looks for blacklegged ticks to find out whether or not Lyme disease is in the area. The Health Unit monitors ticks by having the public submit any ticks that they find to the Health Unit, and by going out to look for ticks in wooded or grassy areas where ticks might be found. When ticks are found, they are identified in the laboratory. Learn more about tick surveillance.
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How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not consistent and may mimic other conditions. The primary symptom is a rash, but it may not be present in up to 20% of cases.
Diagnosis for Lyme disease must be made by a healthcare provider experienced in recognizing Lyme disease. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and a history of a tick bite. Testing is generally done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions. This may need blood and other lab tests.
Research is underway to develop and improve methods for diagnosing Lyme disease.
The symptoms of Lyme disease may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Signs And Symptoms Of Tick
The signs and symptoms of tick-borne disease vary among individuals and differ according to the infecting agent. In general, a person should consider consulting a health care provider whenever he or she experiences a sudden high fever, severe headache, muscle or joint aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If these symptoms occur following a tick bite, or even after exposure to a tick habitat, the health care provider should be informed of this fact. Another possible sign of tick-borne disease is a rash or pus-filled wound that appears at the site of a tick bite, or a spreading rash that follows a tick bite or exposure to tick habitat.
What Can A Workplace Or Home Do To Reduce The Presence Of Ticks
Keep the lawn and yard well maintained to prevent ticks from living near the home or workplace.
- Keep the grass mowed. Trim trees and shrubs.
- Remove leaf litter, brush, and weeds at the edge of the lawn, and around stonewalls and woodpiles.
- Clean up and seal stonewalls and small openings around the home to help discourage rodents.
- Keep stacked firewood piles and bird feeders away from buildings.
- Keep any pets, particularly dogs, out of the woods and talk to your veterinarian about tick repellents for your pets.
- Move children’s swing sets and sandboxes away from the woodland’s edge and use a woodchip or mulch foundation.
- Consider using hard landscape items such as woodchips, mulch, stones, gravel, tile, or metals.
- Create a border or barrier between the lawn, woods, or stonewalls to discourage deer and rodent activity.
- Widen woodland trails.
My Friend Had A Tick Bite And Her Doctor Prescribed A Dose Of Antibiotics To Prevent Lyme Disease When Are Prophylactic Antibiotics Recommended
Limited data is available on the benefit of using prophylactic antibiotics in children following a tick bite. The only antibiotic used for this prophylaxis is doxycycline.
Its use is only recommended if the following five criteria are met:
Ask your provider for more information if you think you or your child may need a prophylactic dose of doxycycline following a tick bite.
It is important to get outside and play, hike, and explore. The possibility of tick bites should not prevent you and your children from enjoying the outdoors. Being diligent about tick prevention and tick checks will go a long way in avoiding tick-borne illnesses.
Remember that even if a tick bite occurs, the risk of Lyme disease remains low. Please do not hesitate to call Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center at 674-7337 or the Ottauquechee Health Center at 457-3030 if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Tick Bites
The Mayo Clinic notes that the majority of tick bites are painless. The symptoms include redness, swelling and a sore on the skin.
If youre bitten by a tick, youll need to carefully remove it as soon as you can, grasping it by the head with tweezers and gently pulling in a slow and steady upward motion. Take care not to squeeze or twist the tick, and dont handle it with bare hands.
If you can, seal the tick in a container and place it in the freezer. If you develop symptoms, this will help the doctor identify the tick that bit you. After youve removed the tick, wash your hands and the area where you were bitten with warm water, soap, rubbing alcohol or an iodine scrub.
Do keep in mind that there are several tick-borne diseases, so the Mayo Clinic does state you should call your doctor if:
And if you experience a severe headache, difficulty breathing, paralysis or heart palpitations, the Mayo Clinic recommends calling 911 or your local emergency number.